Birch sap - a magic drink
Birch sap, or birch, as it is popularly called, has long been famous for its healing properties - it is an environmentally friendly, tasty, healing, refreshing soft drink. The healing secret is that in the spring, birch splashes out all the vitality that it saved during the winter.
- When is birch sap collected?
- How to get birch sap?
- The benefits of birch sap
- How to prepare birch sap for proc?
When is birch sap collected?
Birch sap is collected until the sticky leaves have bloomed (about a month before the leaves and flowering, during the snowmelt), sap flow begins in the birch trees, called the “cry of birch”. Within 15-20 days, the birch gives us its sweet juice.
How to get birch sap?
Option 1: Hole in the barrel
If you delve into the library or the Internet, looking for rules for collecting birch sap, the general recommendations will relate to the following. Juice should be collected (experts call targeted extraction of birch sap pods) from adult trees with a well-developed crown and trunk of at least 30 cm across. At the same time, a small hole (channels) with a diameter of up to 2 cm is drilled in the bark, depending on the diameter of the tree, one to four holes are made on it, and a tubule or tin tongue is removed from it, through which birch sap enters the dishes attached to the wire or the rope.
Important! At the end of the collection of birch sap, the wound is closed with a wooden cork and covered with garden var, wax, clay or plasticine. This is necessary in order to prevent pathogens that can cause the death of a tree through a notch.
Here are just a method of collecting birch sap, which is described everywhere, we almost never used. First, to make sure that the juice flows only through a tube or a trough, is quite problematic, often most of it flows down the trunk. Secondly, it is not always possible to attach a bottle or a jar in such a way that the drops fall inside, and if it succeeds, it is often when a little juice is collected in the dishes, it is shifted under its weight, and the birch sap does not fall into the neck. Thirdly, it is necessary to make a triangular tongue of birch bark under the hole, due to which juice losses can be avoided, and traces of these actions remain for a long time, if not forever, disfiguring slender white-birch birches.
Not only that, if you follow the instructions and drill a hole no larger than 2 cm, then after a couple of days the birch sap will flow much more slowly than at the beginning of the damage. And there are two ways out: either increase the hole in diameter, or make a new one. Both that, and another seemed to us undesirable, therefore this method was not popular with us. Sometimes I had to meet bottles hanging on the trunk in birch forest strips, and above them were several old and fresh holes or, worse, deep cuts with an ax. Unfortunately, this is exactly what the recommendations in the literature look like in practice.
Option 2: Collect birch sap from a branch
Rejecting the most uncomfortable, destructive and not aesthetic, in our opinion, method, we collected birch sap in another way. We chose a suitable branch, about a finger thick or slightly larger, but not directly from the trunk at an upward angle, but from a thicker branch or almost horizontally. Then an oblique section was made and a branch was threaded into the neck of a 1.5 liter or liter bottle, depending on the intensity of sap flow. Fixing the bottle on a branch with wire was not a big pile. Sometimes suitable branches were located at a great distance from the ground, and we had to climb a tree. From this birch sap seemed even sweeter. However, perhaps this is due to the fact that he went a long way along the trunk and absorbed more glucose and fructose - sugars that determine the sweet aftertaste of a healing drink.
An indestructible rule was that we put one bottle or, at most, two on one tree. This ensured both the stability of sap flow throughout the entire period and the limitation of the injuries of some of the most “sweet” trees. The latter most often stood separately on some hillock well-warmed by the sun. In some places there was still snow, and birch trees were just beginning to move away from winter sleep, and here birch sap was already running at full speed. We tried not to touch the young birch trees, but preferred older mature trees.
Near villages and villages, it is better not to collect juice. You should not once again endanger trees already exhausted by people's attention. In addition, the sap flow here was always late, it was rather sluggish and short-lived. And the juice of a tree growing near a busy highway or in the industrial zone of the city, in general, will bring only harm instead of benefit.
And yet, a number of factors influence the amount of collection of birch sap: latitude, type of forest, weather in the summer and winter before tacking and during tacking, hours of the day, fullness of the stand, degree of tree dominance.
The benefits of birch sap
For medicinal purposes, two types of birch are more often used - hanging and spreading. Their kidneys, leaves, juice, ash (activated charcoal), tar obtained by dry distillation of wood, xylitol (sugar substitute for diabetes patients, obtained from waste wood) - all this is widely used in medicine. Birch sap contains 0.5 - 2% sugar, it contains enzymes, organic acids, tannins, calcium, potassium, iron salts, plant hormones, glucose and substances with high antimicrobial activity (phytoncides).
Every year, a person should consume at least 6 liters of birch sap. This healing drink destroys urinary stones, is effective in treating stomach and liver ulcers, headaches, bronchitis, coughs, and helps with rheumatism, radiculitis, arthritis. In addition, birch sap cleanses the blood, has a regenerating effect, stimulates the metabolism, and is also an excellent dietary and refreshing drink. The systematic intake of birch sap has a restorative and tonic effect. Doctors say that if you drink at least a glass of juice a day, then drowsiness, a feeling of tiredness, irritability will disappear. In general, drinking pure birch sap is a pleasure. This is a pleasant, refreshing and firming drink.
How to prepare birch sap for proc?
125 g of sugar and 5 g of citric acid are added to 1 liter of birch sap. Then they are filtered, poured into cans, pasteurized and screwed on with lids. It is useful to mix birch sap with other juices from fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as insist it on the leaves of mint, lemon balm, thyme, hypericum, linden blossom, rose hips, lingonberries.
In an oak barrel with birch sap, a bag with burnt crusts of rye bread or breadcrumbs is lowered on a rope. After two days, fermentation will begin. Then, oak bark, berries or cherry leaves, as well as dill stems are poured into the barrel. Two weeks later, kvass is ready.
There is another recipe. Birch sap is heated to 35 ° C, yeast is put in it at the rate of 15-20 g per 1 liter. The yeast is put in a cold place for 3-4 days, then it is poured into containers and canned.
In addition to kvass, fresh and birch sap (sweet and slightly sour in taste) can be used to prepare a tasty and healthy syrup (it can be added to tea or mixed with water). After evaporation, the sugar concentration in it reaches 60-70%. This syrup has a lemon-white color and a density of honey. It is proved that sweet syrup made from birch sap not only prevents tooth decay, but even stops its development.
Author: Vasily Vishnevsky